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Serbia knocks out Dario Saric, Croatia from Rio Olympic Games

Serbia knocks out Dario Saric, Croatia from Rio Olympic Games

This was the USA men's Olympic basketball team that everyone expected to see at the Rio Games, now right where it was expected to be - in the semifinals.

While the United States and Spain have struggled to reach their full potential at times on the Rio hardwood, Australia and Serbia have delivered much more than expected in also reaching the last four.

Q3: The United States 87, Argentina 61 - Kevin Durant leads the U.S. in points (27), assists (6) and rebounds (6) as the Americans build their lead up to 26 points entering the final frame.

"We tend to think this is gonna be a little easier than we thought", he continued.

The United States beat France in the gold-medal games in the past two Olympics, winning 118-107 in 2008 in Beijing and 107-100 in 2012 in London.

Ginobili, 39, and longtime 36-year-old teammate Andres Nocioni retired from global competition after the game, 12 years after winning gold in Athens.

That loss triggered an overhaul of USA Basketball, the men going unbeaten ever since.

Despite playing sloppy and, at times, uninspiring basketball, give Team USA credit for this: They have advanced to the elimination stage of Olympic play as Group A champions. Led by Ginobili, they won gold at the 2004 Olympics, shocking that year's version of the Dream Team 89-81 in the semi-final.

Defense starts at the point of attack, and that second unit is a better fit to stifle the seemingly endless line of playmakers that global teams put in front of them. The forward played 13 minutes off the bench.

Australia, which has five National Basketball Association players on its roster and four who have won championships, will play the Serbia-Croatia victor in the semifinals on Friday.

In his final Olympic games, at age 39, Ginobili finished with averages of 15.0 points, 3.5 assists, 3.0 rebounds and 1.0 steals in 26.1 minutes per game. The latest incarnation of the Dream Team enjoyed a blowout victory over Argentina in the Olympic quarterfinals, a result that was an especially welcome sight given the Americans' humbling loss to, well, no one. The game is best remembered for Argentina guard Facundo Campazzo punching Carmelo Anthony in the groin. And, despite the score, it was Argentina's, not the U.S.'s. But the second unit has been able to make an impact defensively, with George, Kyle Lowry and Jimmy Butler on the perimeter. Team USA closed the quarter on a 16-2 run, ultimately building a 20-0 run that helped Team USA into the driver's seat. Two-time gold medalist Charles Barkley questioned the decision to build a roster of ball dominant players. With the Americans down 14-7, Team USA coach Mike Krzyzewski was even calling a mercy timeout to stop the bleeding - the kind of thing you simply never see.

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